June 18, 2013 Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea – Written by Catherine Rivard with Tim Scott
Kristina half-closed her eyes, listening intently to the words flowing from one recorder, while at the same time softly translating the story of Moses and the burning bush into Kombio onto a second recorder. After she finished, her three other teammates shifted closer, ready to replay the Kombio recording and begin refining the translation.
Kristina and 29 other participants from seven languages were attending an Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS) workshop in Wewak. Split into four modules, the OBS course is designed to teach Papua New Guineans to memorize and retell Scripture in a way that is similar to the traditional storytelling methods integral to PNG culture. In this third module, the participants focused on the stories of Moses and the Exodus, reflecting on God’s deliverance through hardship.
Hardship was not new to Kristina. Two of her three children had died at birth, and in the attempts to save them and repair her ravaged body, Kristina had undergone four agonizing surgeries. In addition, after she returned from the first workshop and began sharing Bible stories, her husband and his family became extremely unsupportive and embittered, forbidding her to share the stories publicaly or attend the second module of training. With no surviving siblings or parents and no support from the local church, Kristina was without an advocate. But, instead of becoming angry, she chose to humbly submit to her husband, praying the Lord would transform his heart so she might attend the third module. God did work, and this past April, Kristina soaked up the training, despite leaving several times for the local hospital in an attempt to diagnose reoccurring pain leftover from the failed surgeries.
Throughout it all, Kristina remained hopeful. “Listening to these stories about the Israelites has really encouraged me,” she said. “They were in difficult times, but God was bigger than that and rescued them. I know He’ll bring me through my Red Sea as well.”